Mon Bijou homeowners break ground on community center project


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ST. CROIX - Mon Bijou Homeowners Association held a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday for an extension to its community center.

The current center has been a part of the mid-island community for decades, but has become too small for the number of children who frequent the location.

Homeowners Association president Craig Lloyd said he is excited that the association has slowly been able to apply for and receive $500,000 from the Community Development Block Grant managed by the V.I. Housing Finance Authority.

"We're just getting started and we have a good bit of work to do, but the end product is what will really make us proud," Lloyd said.

He said the center now serves after-school students and had been the home of a dynamic summer program for about eight years.

"We do cooking, music, dance and singing, modeling and other programs and the taekwondo classes held two times per week also attract a large amount of children," Lloyd said.

"We do a lot and right now we are seeing how the center is becoming to cramped for the number of children who come everyday," he said. "We want to utilize the extension to not only increase the amount of space that we have, but also improve on the quality of the programs and services that we would be able to provide."

Lloyd said the significantly larger center to be built directly adjacent to the current facility near the entrance to Mon Bijou, will include a small gymnasium, music studio, sewing, kitchen and computer lab that will benefit the children.

"We had to do more as the children that we serve demanded more," he said. "The world is changing and everything is technology, so even as much as to making sure they have access to computers like we will, makes a difference."

The plans for the center extension were completed by local architect Renee D'Adamo and Heights Construction has been contracted to complete the project.

Phase I of the project will use the current grant funds and Lloyd said plans are already on the way to apply for additional block grant funding to complete phase two of the center and outfit the building by the end of next year.

"We serve the greater community, not just Mon Bijou, so we need to make sure that we are really providing the services that are needed," he said.

He said he is hoping to see the community and the children they serve continue to grow so they can reach out to even more children and give them a safe environment to learn and grow in all aspects.

"Our children thrive more when they are safe and comfortable and while there are centers in east and west, we are doing what we can for area of the island," he said.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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